To investigate the modification of cell wall polysaccharides in relation to aril breakdown in harvested longan fruit, three pectin fractions (WSP, water soluble pectin; CSP, CDTA-soluble pectin; ASP, alkali soluble pectin) and one hemicellulose fraction (4 M KOH-SHC, 4 M KOH-soluble hemicellulose) were extracted, and their contents, monosaccharide compositions and molecular weights were evaluated. As aril breakdown intensified, CSP content increased while ASP and 4 M KOH-SHC contents decreased, suggesting the solubilization and conversion of cell wall components. Furthermore, the molar percentage of arabinose (Ara), as the main component of the side-chains, decreased largely in CSP and ASP while that of rhamnose (Rha), as branch point for the attachment of neutral sugar side chains, increased during aril breakdown. Analysis of (Ara + Gal)/Rha ratio showed that the depolymerization of CSP and ASP happened predominantly in side-chains formed of Ara residues. For 4 M KOH-SHC, more backbones were depolymerized during aril breakdown. Moreover, it was found that the molecular weights of CSP, ASP and 4 M KOH-SHC polysaccharides tended to decrease as aril breakdown intensified. These results suggest that both enhanced depolymerization and structural modifications of polysaccharides in the CSP, ASP and 4 M KOH-SHC fractions might be responsible for aril breakdown of harvested longan fruit.
JournaltitleInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences